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An Interview With Sarthak Sharma [Ranked 4th in Jharkhand Judicial Service]

1. Congratulations sir on your success! Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Answer- Thank you so much for your wishes.

Hello everyone, my name is Sarthak Sharma and I am from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. I completed my BBA.LL.B. (Criminal Law Hons.) in the year 2014 from National Law University, Odisha and immediately after that, I started my preparation for Judicial Service examinations. In the meantime, I also pursued my higher studies and did my LL.M. (Corporate Law Hons.) from Hidayatullah National Law University, Naya Raipur.

2. Why did you choose judiciary as a career option?

Answer- I chose judicial services as my desired career because of my family background. My uncle has been my role model throughout this journey. He is currently posted as District and Sessions Judge Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. I have always idolized him in my life.

Also, upon getting into law school and after reading various Supreme Court judgements I realized that being a judicial officer is not just a job rather it’s an opportunity to contribute to the society we live in and I always aspired to be a part of such service to the country.

3. What’s the pattern of the Jharkhand Judiciary exam? 

Answer– Jharkhand Judicial Services is an examination conducted in three phases- the prelims, mains examination followed by an interview (viva voice).

The preliminary examination is an MCQ based test. Successful candidates in the preliminary test appear in the mains examination which comprises of four papers of 100 marks each.

Paper-I comprises of Procedural Law (The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973), Indian Penal Code, 1860. The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 & The Limitation Act, 1963.

Paper-II comprises of, The Contracts Act, 1872, The Sales of Goods Act, 1930, The Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881, The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 & The Transfer of Property Act, 1882.

Paper-III comprises of The Hindu Law and The Mohammedan Law, Rent Control Law, The Specific Relief Act, 1963 & Jurisprudence.

Paper-IV comprises of Hindi & English (Essay, Precise writing, Translation & Paraphrase).

4. Have you appeared for other judiciary exams also?

Answer- Yes, before getting selected into Jharkhand Judicial Services-2018, I also appeared for UP Judicial Services and MP Judicial Services.

5. How did you prepare for (prelims and mains)?

Answer-

For Prelims: –

Mainly I relied upon bare acts of the law subjects as they are of great significance for the Prelims. Also, practising a lot of MCQ’s from previous years papers will help you a lot in remembering the provisions and in time management too.

For GK, I referred “Lucent’s GK” for the static portion of the paper and updated myself with current affairs by reading daily newspapers “THE HINDU” and monthly magazine “PRATIYOGITA DARPAN”.

As far as English is concerned, basic knowledge of the subject will suffice the purpose.

For Mains: –

First of all, preparation for mains must be started from the moment you plan on giving judicial service examination as the time gap between the prelims and mains is very less and it will not be feasible to comprehensively complete the syllabus of mains in such a short period. Also, prior preparation of mains will help the aspirant during prelims exam too in tackling the concept-based questions.

Mains is the most challenging part of the entire examination process and one needs to practice a lot of answer writing for the same. This will ultimately help you in summarizing your answers in a limited period without leaving on any important aspect of the answer.

I approached the examination with a two-fold strategy-

Initially, I analysed the previous years’ papers which helped me a lot in getting an idea concerning the standard of questions asked and what can be expected in the mains of the upcoming exam.

Secondly, I prepared a comprehensive list of all the important topics for the relevant subjects and then made my notes along with the leading case laws of the respective topics.

6. How did you prepare for the interview?

Answer- The whole purpose of the personal interview is to check the personality and the confidence of a candidate. The interview is never focused on to test the knowledge as it has already been done in mains. And it won’t be an issue if you fail to answer a few questions.

Keep yourself updated with the current legal developments and also prepare basic legal concepts to enable yourself to answer with confidence and spontaneity.

7. Can you share your book list for all subjects/parts (prelims and mains)?

Answer- The list of the books is as follows:

For Prelims-

  1. All the relevant Bare Acts
  2. General Knowledge – Lucent’s GK
  3. Current Affairs- Pratiyogita Darpan & The Hindu
  4. Local Jharkhand GK- Arihant Know Your State (Jharkhand)
  5. MCQ’s & Previous Year Paper- Pariksha Manthan, Ghatna Chakra & Singhal’s MCQ for Judicial Services

For Mains-

  1. Code of Civil Procedure- Bare Act, Takwani
  2. Code of Criminal Procedure- Bare Act, Kelkar
  3. Transfer of Property Act- Bare Act, Poonam Pradhan Saxena
  4. Indian Contract Act- Bare Act, Avtar Singh
  5. Specific Relief Act- Bare Act, Avtar Singh
  6. Limitation act- Bare Act, J.D. Jain
  7. Indian Evidence Act- Bare Act, V.P. Sarathi, Batuklal
  8. Indian Penal Code- Bare Act, K.D. Gaur
  9. Rent Control Law- Bare Act
  10. Negotiable Instrument Act- Bare Act and recent Supreme Court Judgements
  11. Sales of Goods Act- Bare Act, Avtar Singh
  12. Hindu Law- Dr. Paras Diwan
  13. Mohammedan Law- Aqil Ahmad
  14. Jurisprudence- B.N. Mani Tripathi

8. For how long did you prepare and how many hours did you put in?

Answer- The hours spent on for preparation for judicial service examination each day is a very subjective approach. Every student is different in itself and a universal idea of how many hours one needs to spend in a day is not appropriate.

As per my experience, a more target-based study must be done rather than time-based study i.e. instead of targeting for 10 hours a day, we shall rather formulate a target for the day e.g. if I had to study 5 topics in a particular day then the responsibility is on me to complete that target with the day time.

9. Do you think if one is aiming for judiciary exams, he/she should start preparing from the college itself? if yes, then what would be the strategy for the same?

Answer- Yes, if a person has set the clear objective of judicial service examination in mind then he must start his preparation from the college itself. Every successful candidate has a successful strategy for the examination. A student in college days must start preparing a framework for his preparation. In college, students have access to libraries and this is the best time for them to collect all the relevant material that would help them in upcoming exams. And start preparing self-notes so that you must develop a basic idea about the exam before getting into the real preparation.

10. What were some challenges you faced/mistakes you made, and how did you overcome them?

Answers- One of the biggest problems I faced in my initial stages of preparation was lack of mastery over bare acts which ultimately had an adverse effect over my prelims results. So, to overcome this problem alongside reading the bare acts it is a must to practice more and more MCQs. Because ultimately this will help a student a lot in memorizing the essential ingredients of various provisions which are occasionally asked as direct questions in Prelims. Complete mastery over bare acts will also help you a great deal in mains as there is a tendency to ask few questions in mains which is just a reflection of the bare provision.

For mains, the mistake I did was, I had this habit of reading answers a lot of times but then I was lacking the practice of writing which is a must to inculcate to qualify the examination. So, I did rectify the mistakes I had in my strategy which ultimately proved to be fruitful.

11. Did you take coaching from anywhere? If yes, how did it help? What are some good coaching institutes which candidates can go for?

Answer- Yes, I did my coaching from Rahul’s IAS, Delhi. It is one of the premier institutes for judicial service aspirants. Under the guidance of Rahul Sir, my preparation went to a different level altogether and it helped me a lot to prepare in a more focused direction. With his immense experience and knowledge, Rahul sir provides the students with amazing conceptual clarity concerning all the important topics in light of the landmark case laws.

The class-notes were so comprehensive that for all my preparation and revision I could easily fall back to them. Also, the coaching provides for a wonderful after course student support mechanism.

12. How was your interview and what type of questions were asked?

Answer- My interview went Good and the questions were mainly focused on commercial laws as I did my LL.M. in Commercial Laws. The board also tested my knowledge about current legal developments and recent supreme court judgements. Few problem-based questions were also asked in respect of procedural laws. Overall it was a mixed bag of all the major subjects. Some of the question asked were:

  1. Tell me about Corporate Social Responsibility?
  2. What is the contract of novation?
  3. Explain Quasi-Contract?
  4. Explain the concept of Duress?
  5. Do you know anything about the Doctrine of Lingering Doubt?
  6. Define the Doctrine of Marshalling with the help of an example?
  7. Explain Curative Petition?
  8. Explain the difference between Section 101 and 106 of the Indian Evidence Act?
  9. Define Accomplice and explain the relevancy of its evidence in light of Section 114 illustration (b) and Section 133 of the Indian Evidence Act?
  10. What are the differences between Murder and Culpable Homicide in light of any landmark judgement?

(There were few more personal questions asked)

13. Anything else you’d like to tell our readers to inspire for Judiciary?

Answers- The only thing I would like to tell the aspirants for judicial services is that the whole process of examination is the perfect blend of hard work and smart work. Such competitive exam tests the metal of a person. So sheer determination along with persistence will make your dreams turn into reality. Learn from your failures and overcome them. Success is bound to follow.

All the best for all the judicial service aspirants.

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